Due to its priviledged position in the centre of the Po-valley,
Parma has been conspicuous over the centuries for the richness
of its cultural life. Capital of the Dukedom which in the
past also included Piacenza and Guastalla, Parma distinguished
itself for the title of "little Athens", gained
thanks to the cultural sensitivity of its rulers. A similar vitality
can still be felt today in the streets of the ducal city, a vitality
which expresses itself in particular in the fields of culture and
Parma, with its theatres
such as the Farnese and the Regio, has attracted and
given hospitality during the past centuries to personages of the
calibre of Nicolò Paganini,
Giuseppe Verdi and Arturo Toscanini;
today it still emerges in the Italian scenario for the presence
of the important A. Toscanini Orchestra,
a famous music college and the new Auditorium "Paganini"
designed by Renzo Piano.
Our city enjoys an equally important role with respect to the construction
of stringed instruments. As far back as the 16th century numerous
violin-making workshops were active in Parma. Within this context
three names stand out: that of G. B. Guadagnini in the 18th
century, and later those of Gaetano Sgarabotto and Renato
Scrollavezza with their respective Schools.